It wasn't an easy decision but it seemed the practical one. If the wooden scooter is still hanging around Minnesota in a few weeks, there will most definitely be a rally trip, a trip to my favorite rally of the year.
This Wisconsin Rally is typically right up there at the top of the heap though and it was incredibly so this year with weather made for motorcycles gathering for outdoor recreation. After some of the weather we've had in the weeks prior (hot and very humid) cool nights and nicely warm days truly turned out to be a gift.
While going through Winona, my helmet cam was off but when I saw this outfit pull up beside me, I had the presence of mind to flip the switch. I mentioned it to the guys at the rally and there was a bit of consensus that this bike may have its home in or near Red Wing. This was the first time I'd seen it.
I met Dave in Witoka and then we followed MN 76 down to Caledonia for breakfast. In fact we followed 76 all the way down to the Mississippi River at Marquette before crossing over into Wisconsin. Before we got there however, it was time for a stop to let Justin out for some sniffing around in the Effigy Mounds National Monument parking lot.
Taking some new back roads, we managed to sneak into Platteville straight from the west where we stopped for a salad lunch and some pick me up coffee.
We arrived a bit after 1:00, registration was setup and already busy.
Friday evening's food line.....brats, burgers, salads, fruit and of course, the beer on tap, the beer wagon hiding behind Ernie's vending area.
Just before sunrise Saturday morning......the tapper wagon lit for Safety.
Roger was there....but got away before I could even say hi. I saw him once or twice but we never quite connected.
Taking the back and very scenic way to Mineral Point, we 4 riders did a very short stint on US 151. Note the anti-hydro grooves in the concrete that the Countour 2+ seems to highlight.
We had our breakfast at the Pointer Cafe.
Taking the long way towards Galena, we found a flat, open view with dry ground on one side, soybeans on the other. This deemed a safe dog exercise area since Jill and Justin were our sidecar passengers.
Corn and beans.......
Not really intending to visit Galena, especially on a weekend, we ended up there anyway. Thankfully those that were following me continued to do so.
Flood gates that protect the valley city from a sometimes rampaging Galena River. In the gates....
and out again.....
I got us as far as Hanover where we stopped for a snack. My Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake (w/ice cream) was quite good. That and the coffee hit the spot.
Since we were now in Dan's neighborhood, he led the way, taking us out to Blanding Landing.
I'm normally out in front, my helmet cam lens much less dusty than when I follow.....a sidecar.
This was a place and roads that I knew nothing of. Dan's leading us there was a real treat.
The Can't Get Through Turn Around place.....
We met the USPS mail lady here.....
The gravel road trip was a loop that eventually saw us back in Hanover. Just as we got there, Dan's rig started having ABS issues. We determined that the same dust issue that was clouding up my photos must have clouded up Dan's ABS sensor. A gas/water/inspection/restart stop seemed to set us all right again.
84 miles to get here......Old Blue was doing just fine by me.
Beans and corn......
Back at Lake Joy, riding through the campground to our site up on the hill.
I needed a quick drink and a short break, then Eric and I headed back to Belmont for gas so that we'd be ready Sunday morning for the trip home. There were a couple of places we'd missed and since it was Eric's first time at this rally, I took the long way back to Lake Joy after our gas fill.
The big "M"
We didn't climb the steps this time but even at the big letter's base, the view to the west is decent. From up on top of the mound, the view is amazing.
Back to camp for dinner and awards ceremony. I didn't partake of the 50/50 drawing this time. Payout was over $600 to the winner, the club kept the first $600. Speaking of numbers, our attendance of 282 was the most I'd seen at this rally in my years of attending.
The grounds clearing out.....
Once again, Dan and crew did a fantastic job with a lot for the rest of us to appreciate. Thank you!
642 miles, other than a spot of oil here and there, the '78 Yamaha ran like a top.